Sunday, December 22, 2013

ZP Anniversary Sale

Picture the scene: It’s the last days of 2012 and in a dank basement in some flyover state nobody can point to on the map, Ryan Sayles paces anxiously behind the hunched figure of Brain Panowich as he feverishly taps away on an old typewriter. Ryan’s meds ran out days ago and Brian knows it’s only a matter of time before there is another ‘incident ’with the neighbor’s chinchilla. He glances at his Hello Kitty watch and then over at Chuck Regan. Chuck is sitting on the filthy mattress in the corner; hugging himself, rocking backwards and forwards. His fingers stained with crayon and blood. He is talking to himself—mumbling really, something about Martians and Ayn Rand. Brian knows it’s all up to him now...
Several hours and one ‘incident’ later, Zelmer Pulp is born and the world of genre fiction gets a zombie wedgie with the release of C’MON AND DO THE APOCOLYPSE.  Surprisingly, a few people actually bought it (not me) and further genrecide followed. 
To celebrate the fact that Zelmer Pulp has now existed for a whole year and nobody has died or been arrested, the first three ZP titles are now on sale for only 99 cents / 77 pence until the end of 2013. And if you’re too cheap to spend a lousy buck, you can pick up Brian Panowich’s first Harmon Brown yarn, BABY JUICE for free.  
So treat yourself and then treat your friends and then treat yourself again.

Go on, it’s Christmas.  ZELMER PULP SALE

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A 2013 Selfie




2013 has been a pretty good year for me. I wanted to do more, but real life kind of got in the way of fiction. Ah well, there's always next year. I would just like to say a big thank you to all the good people who spent their hard earned cash on one or more of these books. It's okay if you didn't, I still love you, just not quite as much.
Happy holidays folks!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Steve Wenta


(Copyright Steve Wenta)

I was saddened to hear the news that artist, Steve Wenta passed away unexpectedly this week. I only came to know Steve recently through his vivid cover art for the Demonic Visions series of horror anthologies I have been involved in. While I didn’t know Steve well, I do know he had a hell of a talent and that he will be sorely missed. This is a shitty time of year to lose a loved one and my thoughts now are with his family.
 
Rest in peace Steve.   


Thursday, December 12, 2013

That Escalated Quickly!

You probably thought  Zelmer Pulp were sleeping it off under a freeway overpass somewhere and that our particular brand of awesome was on hold until after holidays, or at least until we found Brian Panowich, who was last seen heading west in a stolen Camaro with a transvestite table dancer. The thing is we never sleep, at least not without prescription meds. So just in time for the holidays here is something a little bit special from our very own red-suited fat guy with a reindeer fetish, Ryan Sayles.  

Flash fiction doesn’t leave a lot of room for build-up, so it’s best to start by going for the throat and seeing where it leads. In these stories Ryan Sayles does just that. He turns on a dim light and leads the reader down an already claustrophobic path. Active shooter event? Check. Ugly, failed relationships? Check. Dope fiends making smart decisions? Check. People seeking out roadkill because that’s the deepest relationship they can handle? Check. Putting on a soiled Easter Bunny costume to say goodbye the hard way to your former office colleagues who all foolishly thought they had the last laugh? Check and double check. Each story is like an unmarked pill; just swallow it and see what happens. C’mon. It’ll be fun.
The ability to tell a story with only one or two thousand words that stays with a person for days afterwards is a rare talent. Ryan Sayles knows this, and what’s more he has that talent. Read “Uncluttering” and then tell me I’m wrong. These 22 stories are some of the best edgy fiction you will find anywhere, period. And I’m not just saying that because Ryan is a buddy (he doesn't read this blog anyway.) I’m saying it because I believe it.

THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY is out now in both print and e-book. You may hammer down when ready.

 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Junk

Hey, you there. Take a look at my JUNK!

Well, not just my junk, there are eight of us in total. In fact you could say this is an orgy of junk. Back in the summer our man in India, Chris Rhatigan and my brother from another mother, Ryan Sayles came up with the idea of putting together a collection of amusing stories and invited a few guys to contribute something funny.
The end result is a wild collection of truly hilarious stories from: Eric Beetner, Danger Slater, Andrew Hilbert, Jason Armstrong, David James Keaton, Chris Rhatigan, Ryan Sayles and me. The multi-talented Eric Beetner also provided the cover. I’m assuming the picture he used is a selfie.
My contribution is “The Brow Beating Heavy Leather Repossession Shuffle.” A story set in the fictional Tennessee town of Saylesberg and featuring: car jacking, dwarfs, cougars, some guy in a moo-moo, a bank heist and a big rubber dick. My writing has been making people laugh unintentionally for years, so this was a great opportunity to try and do it on purpose.
JUNK is the perfect antidote to seasonal holiday stress. Buy one for yourself and then buy more for your friends. In fact, buy one for everybody; Great Auntie Maude will love it. The e-book can be yours for a lousy buck. My sister told me she laughed so hard she fell of the couch while reading it. So strap yourself (or Auntie Maude) in and cop a feel of our JUNK.

Go on, I won’t tell anybody.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

More Demonic Visions

Just a quick heads up for any horror fans out there. I’m delighted to say that DEMONIC VISIONS BOOK 2 is out now for the Kindle and will be available in print before the holidays. Editor, Chris Robertson has assembled a high quality group of both new and established horror writers and this has been reflected by the excellent sales of BOOK ONE, which incidentally is also available for your reading pleasure.

I’m stoked to be back for a second go around with a brand new story, “Loose Ends.” This time out I tried to work the psychological horror as much as the visual. Steve Wenta will once again be haunting your dreams with his awesome cover art. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the odd story in there that will haunt you a little too. I'm currently working on a longer horror piece for Zelmer Pulp. I'm not sure exactly when that one will be out, but I guess sometime early in the new year. In the meantime why not treat yourself to one or both of the Demonic Visions Books?  Go on, you deserve it.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Zelmer Pulp: The Weird and the Wild and the Doris Day

I'm over at the Zelmer Pulp Blog today, talking westerns and how I came to write my story for our recent Collection Five Broken Winchesters.
Check it.

Zelmer Pulp: The Weird and the Wild and the Doris Day: When we first sat around in the ZP virtual office telling dick jokes and spit-balling about what should follow our science fiction issue, HE...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Roadkill Review: Motel Life

The movie version of Willy Vlautin’s first novel, Motel Life has just opened on selected release in America. To celebrate that and to bemoan the fact that, so far there has been no UK release date announced, I thought I would post my review of Motel Life, which first appeared at Out Of The Gutter earlier this year.

Set in Reno, Nevada in the 1990’s Motel Life is the story of two Brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flanagan.  Orphaned at an early age the brothers live a marginalized life of dead end jobs, low rent motel rooms and TV diners washed down with bargain bin liquor.
When Jerry Lee accidentally kills a kid in a hit and run they make a bad situation worse and run away. The brothers take flight to Oregon and dream of living a better life with Frank’s damaged ex-girlfriend, Annie James; only to find that no matter how hard you try, you can’t out run yourself. 

There is an echo of Steinbeck’s Mice and Men here and perhaps also a nod towards the bleak existences portrayed by Denis Johnson in Jesus’ Son. The Motel Life is noir in its most literal sense. It provides a dark and heart breaking commentary on alcoholism and suicide as it charts the downward spiral of people forced by circumstance to play out a losing hand.
Willy Vlautin’s prose is sparse and at times almost child like in its directness. But he writes with such compelling honesty that any minor grumbles about his simplistic style or his stifled character development are swept away by the sheer power of his narrative.

Motel life is not going to be for everyone and it is fair to say there are more accomplished and articulate renderings of America’s third world citizens out there. But for me, there is something wonderful about the naivety of Vlautin’s work that I just can’t shake off. This book still haunts me years after I first read it and in spite of its flaws, I still wish I had written it.

Motel Life is and always will be one of my favorite books. want to love the movie too. Maybe I will if it ever gets aired on this side of the pond. 
 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

RoadKill Review: Dead Animals by CS DeWildt

Amazon
DEAD ANIMALS contains 34 stories that together could be loosely described as Rural Noir. They range in length from tightly written, punchy flash fiction that pops like green wood on a hot fire, to more expansive pieces that burn slower and hold their heat longer.

The well crafted characters will hook you, but it is the bleak and beautiful qualities of the writing that reel you in. The eerie “Bad Habits” and the gloriously wrong “Shakespearian Varity” are amongst some of the best short fiction I have read, period. But even so, it is hard to top “Corbin’s Dreams Take Flight” with its oddly enduring trailer-trash kids and compelling narrative.  
Okay, so let’s cut to the chase here. Chris DeWildt knows how to tell a story and he does it with prose that, at times damn near sings. This collection contains some outstanding fiction. It also contains gut-shot squirrels, smashed frogs and a badly burnt pigeon. Lovers of animals beware; lovers of great writing, rejoice.

Chris' excellent new flash novel THE LOUISVILLE PROBLEM  is also out now. Featuring: one dead man, two beautiful women and a bag full of cash. You know how we roll around here. 
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hell and Gone

It’s all about the western right now and just to continue the theme, my story HELL AND GONE is up at THE BIG ADIOS today. I submitted this one back in the summer and I guess Ron Earl Phillips and Ryan Sayles must have liked it, because not only did they agree to publish it, but I also got offered an editors chair. I’m grateful for both.

The story is set on the Kansas / Missouri border towards the end of the Civil War. I have long been fascinated by this period of America's history and especially by the bloody, brutal and often short lives of the Missouri Guerrillas under the command of William Quantrill and Bill Anderson. These men rode hard, fought hard and ultimately died hard. Some of those who survived the war went on to become notorious outlaws such as Frank and Jesse James and Cole Younger. There is no doubt that the Guerrillas put a lot of the blood into 'Bloody Kansas', although to many living across the state line in Missouri they were seen as heroes, rather than murderers. I think the truth probably lays somewhere in the middle.  

HELL AND GONE introduces the character of Mitchel McCann; a preacher with Southern sympathies who worships his own particular kind of religion.  You’ll be seeing a lot more of him and his adopted daughter, Justice in my novella GOSPEL OF THE BULLET, which will be out sometime early next year. But for now go and get yourself to HELL AND GONE. I hope you dig it.

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Five Broken Winchesters

Get it here!
It seems only fitting that I should be a whole week late in blogging about the release of Zelmer Pulp’s new Western collection. FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS has been subject to a metric ton of delays, at one time I actually thought we might never get there. But thanks largely to the efforts of Brian Panowich, Chuck Regan and stand up dude, Lincoln Crisler we now have a book—a damn good one too—featuring seven tales of the Weird and indeed the Wild West, written by the Zelmer Pulp team and special guests Ron Earl Phillips and Heath Lowrance.

Most of you will know Ron Earl Phillips as the head honcho of Shotgun Honey and The Big Adios. Ron has published all of the Zelmer crew at one time or another and we are delighted to have his traditional western story, ‘The Last Shot’ in the collection.
Heath Lowrance is another guy who needs no introduction, which is a little ironic seeing as he wrote the one for FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS. Heath also contributed a fantastic flash story featuring his hard-eyed righter of wrongs and legend of the Weird West, Hawthorne.
 
This edition also features killer tales from the Zelmer Pulp entertainment collective: Isaac Kirkman, Ryan Sayles, Brian ‘Yeti Chop’ Panowich and Chuck Regan, who also painted the cover and once again humbled us with both his artistic and his sexual...err, I mean literary prowess.
My humble contribution, ‘The Guns of Justice’ sees the debut of my scarred bounty hunting heroine, Justice McCann. Here’s a little taster to hopefully whet you appetite and loosen you wallet.

The Jailhouse door banged open, bringing down dust from the rafters and toppling the stack of papers on Wade Pollock’s desk.
“Goddammit!”  Wade said, shading his eyes against the bright spring sunshine that invaded his office.

A man stood in the doorway, he was nearly as wide as he was tall and looked about ready to chew up iron and shit out nails. Wade knew him right off; his picture was pinned up across from his desk. The wanted poster showed a buzzard-eyed killer with a huge beard. It was a good likeness. But Cory Johnson could only truly be appreciated by seeing him in the flesh. Wade twisted in his seat, reaching for the gun belt that hung on the back of his chair.

 “Where’s the sheriff?”
The female voice stopped Wade cold, his gun half clear of its holster. There was a dull smack as wood met meat and Johnson collapsed to his knees with a grunt. Behind him stood a girl—or at least something close to a girl—holding an old Baker side-by-side, stock first.

“You’re lookin’ at him,” Wade said continuing to pull his piece in spite of the fact that he could now see Johnson’s hands were tightly bound, or maybe because of it. 

The girl leaned and spat tobacco juice into the coffee can by the door. It gave Wade a good look at her face and the terrible scars she carried there.
“What happened to Miller?” she asked.

“Been dead about a month, I’m running things around here now. Wade Pollock’s the name.”

“In that case, this here belongs to you,” she said flatting Johnson completely with a well-aimed kick to his kidneys.

Wade looked from the gasping Cory Johnson to the girl and then to the crowd that had gathered in the street outside. “You best come in then, and close the door, that is unless you want the whole damn town knowing our business.”
***
 
FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS is available right now for your high-fluting Kindle machine and we are currently engaged in large scale deforestation to bring you a dead tree version by the end of the week. So have and it, or as we say here at Zelmer Pulp, Hammer Down!  
 
 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ten More Shots


The Big Adios is open for submissions. We are looking for western stories, both the traditional kind and the speculative or genre mashing variety. How about sending us something noir, with more grit than Rooster Cogburn, or maybe some western style sci-fi, or steampunk?  We are open to pushing the boundaries, just so long as the story is well told and relevant or strongly associated with the American West or themes common to the genre. 
The one thing we really don’t dig is western romance. We deal in lead, friend; not bodice-ripping yarns, so please don’t send them to us. That also goes for anything containing gratuitous rape or gay torture porn (yes, we have been sent that sort of stuff in the past).
We have some really great stories coming up over the next few weeks from the likes of: David Cousland, Robert Bailey and Chuck Regan. At the last count we only had ten slots remaining for 2013, so are you gonna do something or just stand there and bleed?
Hit us up at: The Big Adios
Bonus points are on offer if you can name both of the movies I just stole lines from.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Johnny Cash Killer


I have a new story up Thrills, Kills ‘N’ Chaos. What with one thing and another, It’s been a while since I have had some of my flash fiction published online and it’s nice to get back in the groove again. JOHNNY CASH KILLER is basically a story of revenge, and maybe regret. There is even a little romance in there too. I got the idea and the title from a line in Eric Beetner’s excellent novella, THE DEVIL DOESN’T WANT ME, so thanks Eric, even though you are blissfully unaware that I stole it! Thanks also to TKNC editor, David Barber for giving the story fine home. You can check out JOHNNY CASH KILLER here: Thrills, Kills ‘N’ Chaos
While you're over there why not take a look at some other great stories form guys like Paul D Brazill, Dyer Wilk and my brudda, Ryan Sayles.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Roadkill Review: Queen of Diamonds by Frank Zafiro & Jim Wilsky

Buy it!
Cord Needham is a big name on the Poker circuit; a real high roller and player to be reckoned with. He’s in town to defend his championship title and maybe to have a little fun on the side as well. Casey Brunell is a poker player too, but he has been playing a more dangerous game, running up debts that no honest man can pay with a local mobster and now he’s scratching at the felt.
Casey thinks his luck has finally changed when he meets the beautiful Ania Kozak at the tables. But then again, so does Cord. “Annie” likes to play by her own rules and the stakes are always high. The only bet you can make is “all in” and in her games, cards aren’t the only thing that gets played.

This novel had all the required ingredients to make it exactly my kind of book, and it didn’t disappoint. “Queen of Diamonds” is the second collaboration between Frank Zafiro and Jim Wilsky and it’s a partnership that runs like a well oiled machine.
The story is told from the perspective of both Cord and Casey, alternating by chapter between the two protagonists. This dual narrative dove-tails seamlessly, with absolutely no jarring changes in rhythm or style, which might have been an area for concern in collaborations from lesser writers.

The plot is tightly written and always engaging and the male protagonists are well described, but the real star of this show is the wonderfully duplicitous and insanely hot, Ania. The way she expertly maneuvers Cord and Casey like pieces on a chessboard marks her out as being a cut above your average femme fatale.


I have read a lot of books set in Las Vegas, but I can’t think of any that I have enjoyed more than QUEEN OF DIAMONDS.

This review first appeared at Out Of The Gutter.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Demonic Visions: 50 Horror Tales

This baby hit the virtual bookshelves earlier in the week, but it kind of got buried in all the excitement surrounding the launch of RELOADED. I’m stoked to have a little flash fiction story in DEMONIC VISIONS. Horror is a genre I have written in before, but not for a few years. What attracted me to this anthology was editor, Chris Robertson’s cool idea of gathering a group of authors together to produce not one book but a whole series. Volume one of DEMONIC VISIONS features tales of cannibalism, murderous underworlds, zombie carnage, portals to alternate dimensions, and a whole host of other scary shit that will have you checking under the bed and sleeping with the light on. It’s out now on Kindle and will be on Kobo and Nook shortly. The paperback should be out in a couple of weeks.  
Amazon US     Amazon UK

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reloaded


As usual I’m a day late and a dollar short, so we best get on with it. BOTH BARRELS, the first anthology from Shotgun Honey, was awesome and I was gutted to miss out on a slot. I’m going out on a limb and saying that RELOADED is even better, and it has nothing to do with the fact I have a story in this one. Okay, so it has a little to do with that, but you should buy it anyway.
 
What’s that you want free shit? Well, alright then, Ron Earl Phillips is giving copies away on Goodreads for those of you in the US who are to damn tight to pay cash money. Just click on the linky thing HERE  




In case you're still on the fence, here’s the TOC:
Patti Abbott – The White Funeral
Hector Acosta – The Howl at the Park
Erik Arneson – All Alone
Cheri Ause – The Trouble with Sylvia
Trey Barker – Release of Degradation
Eric Beetner – One Corpse, Two Assholes
Terence Butler – What Goes Around
Joe Clifford – How to Clean a Gun
Garnett Elliott – Rollin’ Mona and the Tijuana Slide
Rob W. Hart – A Blow to the Head
Andy Henion – When Monte Comes Calling
John Kenyon – No Place Like Home
Nick Kolakowski – How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Ed Kurtz – Buffalo Squeeze
Frank Larnerd – Three Count
Chris Leek – Loose Change
Mike Loniewski – Loose Ends
Bracken MacLeod – Ciudad de los Ninos
Julia Madeleine – Love Gone Bad
Brian Panowich – Set Fire to the Trees
Terry Rietta – Rubes
Rie Sheridan Rose – Tumbling After
Ryan Sayles – They’re Pros, Each and Every One
Richard Thomas – Trinity
John Weagly – The Last Croak

See, I told you.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Deals, Births and Buddies


This past week has been crazy and I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll start by saying how delighted I am that the wonderful people at Snubnose Press will be publishing my novella NEVADA THUNDER.  It’s a fast, hard-boiled ride full of dive bars and bad decisions. Here’s the blurb:
The sun isn’t the only thing that beats on you in the Nevada desert. Johnny Gregson learned that the hard way. He used to be a fighter, sooner or later people will realize that he still is.
 His only knock down came from Carlo Martinez, but it didn’t happen in the ring. Martinez is no boxer. He’s the Las Vegas front man for a Mexican drug cartel. When Gregson refused to throw a fight, Martinez paid him back with a trumped up drug charge. Call it a technical K.O.
 Gregson did the time and came out a little older and maybe a little wiser. He didn’t want revenge, but that wasn’t going to stop his surrogate sister, Kara from trying to get it for him. Her naive attempt at blackmail has landed them both in a world of trouble. Part of the problem is that Kara doesn’t have anything on Martinez; the other part is Martinez believes she does.
If everything goes to plan NEVADA THUNDER should hit the shelves by the end of the year. It goes without saying that I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing and honored to be joining the Snubnose family.
I owe a lot of people a lot of things (money mostly), but I also owe a big thank you to my Zelmer Pulp brothers, Chuck Regan, Brian Panowich, Isaac Kirkman and Ryan Sayles for reading the early drafts of NT. They helped me make it a much better book.
Talking of ZP it’s been a landmark week for Ryan Sayles too, his wife, Donna gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy on Thursday. Congratulations guys and welcome to the world Gus!
Brian Panowich also had some good news this week, but that has to remain under wraps for now. All I can say is well done, man. It’s no less than you deserve.
Some other happenings:
The Godfather of Brit Grit, Paul D. Brazill has my favorite British writer, Gareth Spark over at his Out Of The Gutter column this week. You can check it out here: BRIT GRIT ALLEY
Tucson writer and all round good guy, Chris DeWildt was interviewed on Bud Smith’s radio show the other night. He talks about writing, noir and reads a couple of stories from his excellent new collection, DEAD ANIMALS. Here’s the link: THE UNKNOWN SHOW
Tom Pitts, author of the fast-paced thrill fest, PIGGYBACK is also hitting the airwaves this week on Nikki Palomino’s Monday night show, DAZED. Tune in from 10pm EST on the 9th: DIGITAL RADIO 103
Finally, no blog post is ever complete without mentioning Joe Clifford. His band, The Wandering Jews have just released a new album, ALL THE PRETTY THINGS. If you dig the rock storytelling of Springsteen and the driving melodies of Gaslight Anthem then you really need to hear this. You can download it right now from iTunes: ALL THE PRETTY THINGS
Plenty to hammer down on there, folks.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Both Barrels Reloaded.

Here’s a first look at the cover for RELOADED, the new anthology from those good people at Shotgun Honey. Inside this killer artwork, you will find 25 tales of crime and noir written by some of the very best in the business. This line up just oozes class.



Featuring stories from:



Patti Abbott, Hector Acosta, Erik Arneson, Cheri Ause, Trey Barker, Eric Beetner, Terence Butler, Joe Clifford, Elliott Garnett, Rob W. Hart, Andy Henion, John Kenyon, Nick Kolakowski, Ed Kurtz, Frank Larnerd, Chris Leek, Mike Loniewski, Bracken MacLeod, Julia Madeleine, Brian Panowich, Terry Rietta, Rie Sheridan Rose, Ryan Sayles, Richard Thomas and John Weagly.

I’m delighted to have my story "Loose change" included and to be alongside my Zelmer Pulp Brothers, Brian Panowich and Ryan Sayles in yet another top crime anthology.  
RELOADED will be out on the 10th September.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

All Points West


Hey, there’s a new sheriff in town. Well, a new deputy anyway. I’m excited to be joining Ron Earl Phillips and Ryan Sayles as a submissions editor on the western fiction magazine THE BIG ADIOS. I was fortunate enough to have my story, SEEDS published there a while ago and I have long been an admirer of the quality stories hosted on the site from such great great western writers as David Cranmer and Heath Lowrance.
Submissions are always open for high quality western fiction, so get to it!

Talking of Heath Lowrance, I’m delighted to tell you that the forthcoming Zelmer Pulp collection, FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS will now include a story from Heath, featuring his hard eyed righter of wrongs, Hawthorne. Heath is one of my favorite writers and I’m stoked that he will be joining the ZP posse for this one.
This collection will feature some superb stories that range across the whole spectrum of western fiction from: Chuck Regan, Isaac Kirkman, Brian Panowich, Ryan Sayles and special guest, Ron Earl Phillips. FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS will also be the first outing for my ‘deadlier than the male’ Bounty Hunter, Justice McCann in a hard hitting story of blood and revenge called THE GUNS OF JUSTICE (see what I did there.)

If you want a taste of what Zelmer Pulp has in store for the Wild and Weird West, then I suggest you fill your hand with Brian Panowich’s cracking Harmon Brown yarn, BABY JUICE or indeed any of Heath Lowrance’s excellent HAWTHORNE novellas.

Well, are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Roadkill Review: Wake The Undertaker by Joe Clifford

Buy it!
Here is the last of my favorite reads from the first six months of 2013. Wake The Undertaker is a gloriously atmospheric slice of noir from the irrepressible, Joe Clifford.

Most people would be content just to sit back and take the plaudits after reaching such a literary high, but Joe Clifford isn't most people. His introduction to Zelmer Pulp's Hey That Robot Ate My Baby! may be viewed by many as his finest work to date, but hold the phone, he has another novel out.

Wake The Undertaker is actually Joe Clifford’s first novel. It beat the much-admired Junkie Love to the punch by a couple of weeks. When that autobiographical tour de force showed up fashionably late with huffing candy around its nose and a sly grin on its face, it immediately set about stealing the thunder from its elder sibling and has been hogging the limelight ever since. While there is little doubt that Junkie Love is a damn fine book, Wake The Undertaker is no ugly sister and it’s high time we showed it some love.

Nineteen year old Collie Spector is a nightclub singer on the up. He’s got the looks and the voice, but he’s also got the boss’s girl, Zoey, and when that boss is Gabriel Christos, the son of Bay City’s crime overlord Cephalus “the Old Man” Christos, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the fall Collie is headed for is going to be a big one.
Gabriel orders a beat down, which includes ending Collie’s career by cutting his vocal chords, and with the help of Bay City’s crooked cops, Gabriel frames the singer for a crime he didn’t commit. Collie does time in the City’s Island prison of Rockville, working on his upper body and trying to come to terms with the fact he will never sing again. When he comes out, he is twice the man he was, but Collie isn’t the only one who has changed during those seven years.

Gabriel is now estranged from his old man and trouble is brewing between them. Collie soon finds himself sucked into their murky underworld of drugs and politics and ends up working for the very man who orchestrated his downfall.

Bay City is a dark and rain-swept place where the hoods date strippers and dirty cops are on the take from nightclub-owning crime bosses. Here, the washed up newspaper men tell it like it is, everyone drinks their bourbon straight and nothing is quite as it seems.
Joe Clifford has delivered an exceptional pulp novel that reminded me of Frank Miller's finest, but without the pictures. If you were to cut Wake the Undertaker with a knife it would bleed with noir. It would also jump back up and shank you with a rusty screwdriver. I really hope that it isn’t destined to become Joe Clifford’s “other novel." Wake The Undertaker deserves much better than second billing and is a true star in its own right. Part of me hates Mr. Clifford for being this good, but most of me can’t wait to read his next one.

My original review of Wake The Undertaker can be found at the online supermax for offensive fiction: Out Of The Gutter

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gloves Off - Free This Weekend!

Get it here!
Heads up! For a limited time only the guys at Near to the Knuckle are giving you the chance to pick up their kick-ass anthology, GLOVES OFF for free.

GLOVES OFF is a collection of dark stories from the cream of the literary crop. These stories have one thing in common: they will come at you, all guns blazing. There’s a story lurking down every dark alley. Just when your back is turned a plot-twist is ready to attack.
The stories in this anthology are mainly crime, but there is also grim humour and the supernatural; dark tales for an adult audience featuring hit men, mobsters, bikers and stalkers.

This anthology was spawned from the dark, talented minds of: Gareth Spark, Richard Godwin, Paul D. Brazill, Aidan Thorn, Pete Sortwell, B.R. Stateham, Brian Panowich, Ryan Sayles, Chris Leek, David Barber, Vic Errington, Graham Smith, Walter Conley, Tom Pitts, Allen Miles, Jim Spry,Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Mike Monson and Alan Griffiths.

So what the hell are you waiting for? 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The West Is Just About To Get Weird

Get it here!
Zelmer Pulp is headed west later this month with our new epic collection FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS. This time we have invited a friend along and Shotgun Honey supremo, Ron Earl Phillips will also be saddling up to join the Zelmer Posse.

FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS spans the whole arc of the western genre from hard-boiled traditional stories of blood and revenge to science fiction and weird western horror. The full line up is as follows:
Obsidian by Ryan Sayles
Red December (A Harmon Brown Yarn) by Brian Panowich
The Atheist by Isaac Kirkman
The Ballad of Jeremy Diggitt by Chuck Regan
The Guns of Justice by Chris Leek
The Last Shot by special guest, Ron Earl Phillips

FIVE BROKEN WINCHESTERS will be available in both e-book and print editions. We are again fortunate that the exceptionally talented Chuck Regan will be providing the book's original cover art. Keep an eye on the Zelmer Pulp website for further updates. This is also the place to go for details of our other publications, special offers, Ryan's transvestite fashion tips and to download our recipe for armadillo and squirrel burritos. 
If you want a little taste of what’s on offer, (the westerns that is, not the burritos) then why not pick up a copy of Brain Panowich’s first Harmon Brown Yarn, BABY JUICE, which is available now for a paltry sum on Amazon. So as Deputy Marshall Rooster Cogburn once said "Fill your hand you son-of-a-b*tch."


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Roadkill Review: Fierce Bitches by Jedidiah Ayres

Buy it!
Seeing as we are 50% done with 2013, I thought I would take the opportunity to share another of my favorite reads from the first half of the year. The rise of the e-book has seen a massive resurgence in the popularity of novellas and there have been some exceptionally good ones released recently. To my mind “Fierce Bitches” by Jed Ayres is the best of the lot.
Welcome to Politburo, a sweltering hell-hole of dust and heat somewhere south of the Mexican border. This shanty town doesn’t appear on any maps and its residents don’t appear on any census. This town is the last stop for the gringo gun thugs and Mexican whores who have become surplus to the requirements of the boss. Everyone in this town dreams of escape, even if they only want to escape from themselves. Many have died trying, maybe one day somebody will make it out.
I can sum up “Fierce Bitches” with just one word and an exclamation mark—WOW! This brutal and savage story is brilliantly told using intertwined, multiple POVs that meld seamlessly together and allow a harsh beauty to shine through all the blood and the violence. Jed Ayres has nailed it and delivered a hell of a book. Rarely have I come across an author who is capable of such rich and surprising prose. His narrative voice is both intoxicating and addictive.
My full review can be found online at Out Of the Gutter.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Roadkill Review: American Death Songs by Jordan Harper

Buy it!
“I do not believe in the Devil or the sanctity of Jesus Christ, but I’m telling you that something greater than you or me put that song on the radio at just that moment…”

Jordan Harper takes his readers from desert highways to backwoods bars and beyond. Here crime is king and these ballads of bad-ass sing about lives full of dead ends, blown deals and settled scores. Some of them have been played before, others are as yet unsung, but all are remarkable and deserve to be heard.
There is something deliciously poetic in Jordan Harper's gritty prose. Like being hit with brass knuckles while your sweetheart slips you the tongue, his words draw you in, smack you hard and leave you breathless.
You can pick any one of the stylish tales and I'll be more than happy to heap on some praise on it. ‘Plan C’ is a brilliant and brutal heads up on how things can go real bad, real quick; while ‘Heart Check’ captures the kill or be killed of the prison yard better than anything I have previously read. But I’ll take ‘Red Hair and Black Leather’ as my favorite, because when it comes down to it I’m just an old romantic and any that story starts with the line, “She had an ass like a heart turned upside down and cut in half,” automatically get’s my vote.
This review first appeared in my column at Out Of The Gutter Online. Since then two things have happened, firstly, my opinion hasn’t changed; ‘American Death Songs’ is still the best short story collection I have read this year and secondly, the opening story, ‘Midnight Rider’ has now been made into a short film starring Ryan “Opie” Hurst and if that don’t float you’re boat, you’re in the wrong place, pilgrim.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Double-Barreled Blast

Hey, I have a new one up at Shotgun Honey this weekend, 700 words of bad-ass called Candy’s Room.  It’s really a love story and one that I’m pretty darn proud of. For one reason or another it has taken over two years to see the light of day, which makes its belated publication all the sweeter for me. I hope you’ll stop by and give it the once over. It will only take you a couple of minutes, and who knows, you might even dig it?

While we are on the subject of Shotgun Honey, I am stoked to tell you that I have got myself a slot in their second print anthology, Both Barrels – Reloaded.  The first anthology was killer and I was gutted to have missed out, but with so many great writers and only 30 slots, I wasn’t too surprised that I did.
This time around I was determined to raise my game and make the cut. My story is called Loose change and I think it is one of the best I have ever written. Congratulations are also due to my brother from another mother, Brian Panowich who also got the nod with his flat out awesome story, Set Fire To The Trees.  The anthology will be out in September, I’ll be sure to mention it here once or twice, just to remind you.  
In the meantime, get on over to SGH and show Candy a little love: Candy’s Room
Happy Fathers Day, Muthas!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

No Batteries Required - FREE Analog Robots

Hey look, free shit!

One thing I've noticed recently is that 97.6% of all giveaways on Goodreads etc. are limited to those who reside in the good old US of A. So just for a change, here's one for this side of the pond (that's the side that drinks tea with milk and drives on the left).




If you live in the UK and would like to own a print copy of HEY, THAT ROBOT ATE MY BABY, but are too skint or tight to buy one then listen up, because I'm giving one away for free. 

When Orson Scott Card, author of the bestselling sci-fi novel ENDER'S GAME was asked to comment on Zelmer Pulp's science fiction magnum opus he had this to say: "This is private property, get out before I call security. And put your pants back on."

So there you have it. I'll even spring for the postage and sign the damn thing if you want me to, although I should point out that my signature will put a significant dent in any potential resale value. 

To be in with a shout of winning this magnificent tome, just leave a comment on this post. Let's make June 16th the cut off date, after which time I will pick the winner at random, possibly from a hat. In the (quite likely) event of nobody bothering to comment by the 16th, then forget about it, the deals off.  Got it? Well then, what are you waiting for?

While we are on the subject, HEY, THAT ROBOT ATE MY BABY, has received a couple of killer five star reviews recently (take a look HERE if you don't believe me). But we can always use a few more, so belly up to the bar people.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Roadkill Review: Tales from The Longcroft by Darren Sant

Buy from Amazon
Looking for something for the weekend? Well, if you haven’t done so already I can recommend checking out Tales From The Longcroft by Darren Sant.

In this collection of interwoven stories the author has created a rich tapestry of believable characters. The poor and the marginalized that inhabit his fictional council estate are vividly drawn. Their daily struggle to survive in the run-down terraces and tower blocks of the Longcroft is told with compassion, humor and no mean skill.

The writing is tight and absorbing. I found myself instantly sucked into this gritty world of chancers, wasters and small time crooks. Darren Sant handles some difficult subject matter with consummate ease. His social commentary is spot on, but he never allows the stories to wallow in self pity and lifts the narrative to another level with some clever touches and plenty of dry wit.  
All of the stories here are worthy of your time, but for me, the best of a very good bunch is “Rowan’s Folly” which tells the story of Andy and Shona and provides a harsh lesson in what happens when you rub another man’s rhubarb on the Longcroft Estate.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Jackson Cage

I’m back at The Flash Fiction Offensive today with a little number called The Jackson Cage.

This story is my first one to be published online for quite a while. My other writing commitments have meant I’m not writing all that many flash pieces these days. I’d like to think that makes the quality of the ones I do put out that much better, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
I’d like to thank Tom Pitts and Joe Clifford for letting me lower the tone of their virtual pages once again and also thanks are due to Ryan Sayles and Rich Osburn for running the rule over my first draft.

I hope you read it and I hope you dig it. If you do, drop me a comment.

The holding tank has its own set of rules. Jail isn’t prison and the learning curve can be a steep one. THE JACKSON CAGE